This is a discussion on About 7,000 attend Chris Kyle memorial at Cowboys Stadium within the Military & Veterans forums, part of the Main Category category; About 7,000 attend Chris Kyle memorial at Cowboys Stadium By Bill Miller ARLINGTON -- Uniformed personnel, police and military stood ...
About 7,000 attend Chris Kyle memorial at Cowboys Stadium
By Bill Miller
ARLINGTON -- Uniformed personnel, police and military stood with civilians Monday at Cowboys Stadium to honor Chris Kyle, the former Navy SEAL sniper who was slain last week near Glen Rose.
An estimated 7,000 people attended, including police and firefighters in blue from all over Texas, Texas Highway Patrol troopers in tan, and a dozen Texas Rangers in white hats and shirts. An Army Special Forces sergeant was in green; Marines were in dress blue. Flag-toting motorcycle riders wore their leathers, and a girl must have come straight from class because she was still in her blue school uniform.
And there were lots of Navy personnel, many of them wearing the Special Warfare insignia -- the SEAL Trident.
In eulogizing Kyle, the former SEAL who co-wrote American Sniper, they recounteed how he provided cover fire from exposed positions in far away places like Fallujah and Ramadi, Iraq. But more than one of his former teammates stressed that Kyle, who served four tours in Iraq, was more legendary as son, father and husband.
Kyle's wife, Taya, drove that point home in her tearful address.
"I stand before you a broken woman," she said, "but always a wife of a warrior, on and off the battlefield. Chris Kyle was 'all in' no matter what he did in life."
She recalled revealing her flaws to her husband, and Kyle telling her: "You're a package deal. I love you. All of you."
"Chris," she said, "God worked through you to make me the woman I'm supposed to be. He chose well. Thank you for loving me."
Kyle, 38, and friend Chad Littlefield, 35, both of Midlothian, were shot to death Feb. 2 at the Rough Creek Lodge near Glen Rose. The arrested suspect is a former Marine whom Kyle and Littlefield were hosting for an afternoon of target shooting at the facility. The suspect, Eddie Routh, was afflicted with post-traumatic stress disorder, and Kyle was reaching out to him, according to reports.
Outside the stadium, Lance Burt of San Antonio said he and Kyle were friends, and they worked together to provide fishing and hunting opportunities for fellow veterans. Burt, a former Army ranger, and 10 members of his club, Patriotic Defenders, rode their motorcycles from San Antonio to attend the memorial.
"There's no better cure than getting these guys outdoors and thinking about having fun again," Burt said. "But after four tours in that kitty box, he comes home and another vet kills him.
"He was just a dude who did everything for everybody, except himself."
Others entering or leaving the stadium said they never met Kyle, but all admired him.
Included were four high school students from the Forrestal Squadron of the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps. Derek Dickerson of Mesquite said he was asked to write Kyle and invite him to speak before the cadets.
"It's just a shame," he said. ""Now I just want to show my respect."
He was joined by fellow cadets Brendan Gould of Hurst, Richard Rodriguez of Grand Prairie and Terrell Mashek of Keller.
Gould said he came to admire Kyle while reading American Sniper.
"To pay respect, in a uniform that is similar to what he would have worn, is really profound for me," he said.
At about 11:30 a.m., parking lots filled up quickly for the 1 p.m. service at the 80,000-seat stadium.
At the beginning of the service, the crowd entered slowly into the stadium with the hymn Mansions of the Lord playing on the P.A. system and images of Chris Kyle on the jumbo screen.
Accompanied by Scottish bagpipes, the casket carrying Kyle was placed on the blue star on the 50-yard line. A photo montage showed moments of Kyle's life from his childhood through adulthood.
Dozens of Navy SEALS, past and present, stood as the SEAL creed was read at the memorial.
One-by-one, boyhood friends and fellow military members paid tribute to Kyle.
"At home, he wasn't Superman. He was just a dad," one of Kyle's high school friends said. Some of the speakers were not identified in the program.
At the close of the service, Country star Randy Travis sang Whisper My Name then led the crowd in a rendition of Amazing Grace.
No politicians spoke at the service, however, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin posted on her Facebook page that she and her husband, Todd, were planning to attend the memorial. "I find it sad to see that flags aren't flying at half staff for this American hero," Palin wrote on the page.
After the service, Greg Harper of Burleson said he also read Kyle's book, and the outpouring of community support attested to the former SEAL's character.
"Hopefully, his family's seeing the community coming out for him will help with their healing," Harper said. "People serve in the military, but they don't get the respect they deserve and neither do their families."
Kyle's family had earlier held a private funeral separate from the public memorial service. Kyle will be buried in the Texas State Cemetery in Austin on Tuesday. The Patriot Guard Riders have announced that they will escort the hearse from Midlothian to Austin.
They flew flags at half mast for Whitney Houston but for real warrior none. I find that a slap in the face for every veteran. Sounds like there was no protests there which was good.